By: Ian Logue
Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson had a good showing against the Jets. (USA TODAY Images)
With the entire season obviously behind us at this point, this is the second entry in a daily series taking an in-depth look back at each regular season game now that we have plenty of context behind it to understand the significance of what transpired in each one. Also included will be notable stats, quotes, and additional information to hopefully focus on things you may have forgotten and make it an interesting look back at the season. The idea behind this is with free agency approaching and the draft not far off, this will paint a bigger picture of each game and highlight some of the weaknesses and things that went wrong, which will likely play a factor in how the team approaches fixing some of the issues they dealt with this season.
In this morning’s installment, the focus is on their week two home opener against the New York Jets, which was a 13-10 win.
Week 2: Thursday, September 12th, 2013 vs NY Jets
Coming off of their week one win over Buffalo, Danny Amendola found himself sidelined after re-injuring his groin, leaving the Patriots having to rely on their rookie receivers along with Julian Edelman in their home opener against the Jets just four days later. It was a windy, rainy night and this game would have some interesting moments, which certainly had plenty of people talking after it was over after the camera caught Tom Brady expressing his frustrations with his receivers.
It was a low-scoring affair, and here’s a look back at what happened during this game:
Total Offensive Plays: 64 (Excluding punts & field goals)
Number of First Down Plays: 24 – First Downs Converted: 1
Number of Second Down Plays: 21 – First Downs Converted: 3
Number of Third Down Plays: 18 – First Downs Converted: 4
Number of Fourth Down Plays: 0, First Downs Converted 0
Punts – 11
FG Attempts: 3, Made: 2
Total: 19-of-39 for 185yds, 1 sack, 1 TD, QB Rating: 71.0
First Down: 4-of-10 (40%) for 52yds 1 sack
Second Down: 9-of-14 (64%) for 52yds
Third Down: 6-of-15 (40%) for 81yds, 1 TD
Red Zone Passing:
2-of-5 (40%) for 5yds
Stevan Ridley: 16 carries, 40yds (0 First Downs)
LeGarrette Blount: 4 carries, 11yds (0 First Downs)
Julian Edelman: 1 carry, 4 yards (1 First Down)
Leon Washington: 1 carry, 1 yard (0 First Downs)
Julian Edelman: Targets: 18, Receptions: 13, 78yds (3 First Downs)
Aaron Dobson: Targets: 10, Receptions: 3, 56yds (3 First Downs)
Kenbrell Thompkins: Targets: 7, Receptions: 2, 47yds (1 First Down)
James Develin: Targets: 1, Receptions: 1, 4yds
RB Brandon Bolden, TE Rob Gronkowski, TE Zach Sudfeld, WR Danny Amendola
Tom Brady lost his composure in that Thursday night match-up.
(USA TODAY Images)
NEW ERA BEGINS BETWEEN THESE TWO RIVALS:
This match-up kicked off the first game in what was basically a new era, as it marked the first time the Patriots would face a Jets’ quarterback not named Mark Sanchez since Brett Favre played for New York and beat Bill Belichick’s team back on November 13th, 2008. This time around rookie quarterback Geno Smith would get the start in this game, and the Patriots defense did a good job against him. They held him to just 7-of-16 (44%) throwing the football, and a paltry 94-yards passing as well as sacking him three times.
But as good as the defense was, most of the talk after this one was over focused on Brady’s demeanor toward his receivers. The biggest moment of note came following a brief tirade shortly when the offense left the field after settling for a field goal late in the second quarter. On that drive Brady and the offense worked their way down to the Jets’ 12 yard line but couldn’t score, and the veteran quarterback erupted.
Looking back at the replay, someone clearly ran a route that Brady wasn’t expecting, and as the ball fell incomplete the veins were sticking out of Brady’s neck as he screamed at the offending receiver.
Here’s a quick snapshot at the play:
Looking at the play, it looks like Brady was expecting something different because he threw behind Edelman and behind Dobson (Dobson is circled in yellow, while the ball is outlined in red and Edelman is right below that). Dobson was officially credited with the target, but only Brady knows who he was throwing to.
The veteran quarterback said after the game that he needed be better about how he handled those situations. “I think I have to do a better job with my body language and I definitely can improve that,” said Brady when asked about that after the game. “I wouldn’t say it’s a real strong point of mine right now, so we’ll just try to keep doing better. That’s what we’ve got to do.”
DOBSON KICKS OFF WITH A BANG BUT STRUGGLES FROM THERE:
After missing the Patriots first game with a hamstring injury, rookie receiver Aaron Dobson started off his NFL career in a way that most rookies could only imagine, snagging a pass from Brady on a play-action pass and taking off for what would be a 39-yard touchdown reception to put the Patriots up 7-0 on their opening drive. However, like Thompkins in week one, Dobson had a similar difficulty connecting with Brady, finishing the night with just three receptions despite being targeted 10 times.
ANOTHER STRONG PERFORMANCE BY JULIAN EDELMAN:
Edelman caught what at that point was a career high 13 passes for 78 yards, giving him 20 receptions through two games, one shy of his entire total in 2012. He had also been one of Brady’s go to guys on third down, catching all four passes he was targeted on in that contest, two of which he converted. In Week One he caught all three third down targets that were thrown his way, converting two of them – which were touchdowns (the league counts a touchdown as a first down). That made Brady 7-of-7 targeting him in those situations, so the two clearly were on the same page. That was good news to that point as with Amendola out, and reports at the time said he could be out 2-6 weeks with his current groin injury, the Patriots needed someone to pick up the slack. Fortunately, Edelman ended up stepping up.
THE DEFENSE LOOKED TERRIFIC AGAIN:
After the last few seasons of not having a real cohesive unit, the Patriots seemed as though they were finally getting to the point where they had a fairly solid group of players in each group defensively. Tommy Kelly really solidified the defensive line and had a sack against New York, while Chandler Jones (2 sacks) and Michael Buchanan (1 sack) also were in on quite a few plays. Rob Ninkovich and Jerod Mayo were playing about as well as we had ever seen them play to that point, and the secondary for the most part also played well and came up with three critical interceptions. Everything was going right and they were making plays and forcing turnovers. Little did we know that what could have been one of the best groups we’ve seen in years would start to crumble in the weeks ahead.
STEVAN RIDLEY REBOUNDED FAIRLY WELL:
It was far from perfect for Ridley, but he made it through the entire night without any issues turning the football over. Overall he finished the game carrying the ball 16 times for 40 yards which wasn’t exactly his best performance, but with the Patriots passing game largely held in check, especially when the weather turned ugly, the Jets defense plugged most of the holes as the game went on and prevented Ridley from breaking off any big gains. They stopped him for no gain or a loss on six of his carries, which as we saw from that unit as the season went on was really more of a credit to the Jets’ run defense than Ridley’s inability to pick up positive yardage.
PUNTER RYAN ALLEN HAS QUITE A NIGHT:
Rookie punter Ryan Allen punted 11 times that night for a franchise-tying record 514 yards. He did a good job in the field position battle, preventing the Jets from getting good starts on their drives. Considering the conditions, Ryan did a great job for a rookie and so far had seemed to be handling his full time role relatively well.
– The Patriots’ defense extended their streak of forcing a turnover to 29 straight games during their win over New York.
– Brady also extended his streak to 50 straight regular season games in which he had thrown a TD pass, which at the time put him second only to Drew Bees (54) in NFL history.
– Julian Edelman had a would-be fumble called back in the second quarter which during the game ESPN Boston’s Field Yates pointed out an interesting fact. Had the fumble stood, it would have been Edelman’s first career fumble in 50 games played. The play was overturned, so the receiver’s streak continued.
– Tom Brady hit another milestone after this game. He finished the night with 3,846 career completions, which moved him ahead of former Patriots quarterback Drew Bledsoe for 7th in NFL history.
It had been an interesting start, and the short week gave them a nice long break to try and work out some of the additional kinks before they would take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.